25th anniversary of James Burke's landmark Connections program, in which Burke looks back and forward to the program's digital incarnation, the Knowledge Web (k-web.org)
June 7, 2009
Non-linear thought (Courtesy of "Russell")
Cripes, what a dogged, calculating, manipulative, and twisted man James Burke is. And what's best is how open he is about it while being utterly charming and inviting; it's no wonder the interviewer (and I) fawned over him.
Burke had some goal to get as many people as possible to think as non-linearly as possible even though it went against their very nature. There is a reason we tend to think linearly even though we're capable of much more complex non-linear thought. Gut instincts are right 99% of the time if you've survived to at least 20 years old though they are without innovation and they suffer the occasional spectacular failure; while thinking is very hard and takes lots of training and overwhelmingly leads to incorrect theories though with rare spectacular successes. His abhorrent goal to get millions of people in lock step behavior would direct him to become almost a force of nature to affect such a veritable evolution of who they were at the very core of how their minds work. Like a Hitler but without the hate.
But this guy is far scarier as he relied on far less luck and substantially less capital than Hitler did, at least an order of magnitude in each adjective except perhaps in doggedness ;-). They each had/have the same reach in numbers, a few tens of millions of people being cast into their spell with the one saving grace being the aforementioned absence of malice.
Maybe this James Burke in human form is not a monster but an X-Man or maybe this is just splitting hairs...
Kidding aside, that interview was amazing.